Jones as a Senior for Liberty
Former Liberty Tight End Dominique Jones is one of four Flames actively on a NFL roster. Jones was recently signed to the Miami Dolphins practice squad. He joins Rashad Jennings (Jaguars), Mike Brown (Jaguars), and Chris Summers (Vikings) as other former Flames making a name for themselves in the NFL. Here at Flames Nation, we recently had an opportunity to catch up with Dominique.
Jones does not have your typical path to an NFL roster. He came to Liberty originally as a walk-on for the men’s basketball team in 2005. His father, Zack Jones, was then an assistant coach on the Liberty basketball team. Dominique played 2 seasons on the basketball team where he recorded 6 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 steals while playing 47 minutes in 18 games. When former Liberty head basketball coach Randy Dunton’s contract was not renewed, Jones’ father Zack was out of a job.

“I gave football a try and the Lord has blessed me ever since” – Dominique Jones

Unsure of what he should do regarding his athletic career, Dominique said “after my sophomore year in basketball I sat down and weighed my options for my future. I felt like football was a better fit for me if I wanted to continue to play after college.” So, he “gave football a try.” He hadn’t played football since high school, but that did not deter him as he made the Liberty football team as a walk-on tight end.

Jones played football at Liberty under head coach Danny Rocco for 2 seasons. While on the football team, he recorded 9 receptions for 67 yards and 2 touchdowns in 12 games. Certainly not numbers that would cause an NFL scout to turn his head. Due to NCAA rules, Jones did not have any eligibility remaining at Liberty after the 2009 season, but if he transferred to a Division 2 school he would have 1 season left. Liberty TE coach Ernie McCook left Liberty after the 2009 season to return to Shepherd University as Offensive Coordinator. Dominique followed Coach McCook to Shepherd to finish his college athletic career.

Jones at Shepherd University

At Shepherd, Jones began to flourish as a tight end. In his lone season playing for the Rams, he garnered 3rd team All-American and 2nd team All-Conference honors. From Shepherd, he was able to garner the attention of professional scouts. He played both in the UFL and IFL for the Sacramento Mountain Lions and the Reading Express, respectively.

Then, the moment every kid has dreamed of came in 2012 as he “got a call from the Colts.” The call was just for a tryout, but it eventually led to him making the 53 man roster after training camp. How did he find out he made the roster? “I just saw the roster posted on the website and my name on it.” Time froze for a moment. Jones said he “was really excited and a little emotional.” He continued, “I had finally made it to the league.” But don’t think making an NFL roster has changed Dominique. He says he is still “the same person I was when I was at Liberty.” 

Many often wonder what they would buy if they made the NFL or won the lottery. Dominique’s first purchase? “My first apartment and a Tempur-Pedic bed because there is nothing like a great night of sleep.” And a well deserved night of sleep.

So, why did Dominique choose Liberty to begin with? He says he wanted to further his “Christian education as well as play for a school that was competitive at sports and Liberty was the perfect fit.” Jones recalls his most memorable experience at Liberty as “winning a couple Big South championships in football.” He thoroughly enjoyed his time on campus in Lynchburg, and even gave a recruiting pitch to prospective student-athletes considering Liberty: “If you want to go to what is one of the best Universities in the world, while still getting a Christian education and background, and also getting some of the best athletics that any University has to offer, then Liberty University is the place to be.”

After his football career is over, Dominique says he wants to get back into basketball as a “high school basketball coach and an athletic director.”

From basketball walk-on to an NFL roster. Quite the journey.